In a video produced by Tom’s Guide — dramatically shot in front of customers standing in line outside of Apple’s Fifth Avenue store — a brand new iPhone 11 Pro’s screen cracked after being dropped onto a New York City sidewalk from hip height.
The phone landed nearly parallel to the ground, but its bottom-right corner touched pavement first, causing the top left corner to slap violently onto the hard surface. As a result, the glass shattered in more than three spots and left hairline cracks running across the top third of the screen down to the bottom right corner.
That same iPhone fared well when dropped on its back from the same height. No cracks or scratches were observed after two drops, a result more in line with Apple’s claim of “toughest glass in any smartphone.” The rear material, which goes through a dual ion-exchange process for added durability, finally succumbed to a shoulder level drop that exacerbated cracking on the phone’s face.
A second drop test performed by YouTube channel EverythingApplePro was more promising. Both iPhone 11 Pro and 11 Pro Max withstood multiple front, back and side drops from waist and shoulder height. In fact, the stainless steel chassis on both handsets warped during testing. The back glass on the 11 Pro and the screen of the 11 Pro Max finally shattered in a ten-foot fall.
It should be noted that the test was conducted indoors, likely on a different material or concrete mix than what iPhone was exposed to in the Tom’s Guide analysis.
As drop tests are inherently expensive, most are conducted from preset heights starting at a low point around waist level, roughly where a user might fumble their phone when taking it out of a pants pocket. From there, evaluations typically move to ear height, simulating a drop while on a call, to inordinate elevations of ten feet and above.